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Who Wants to Be a Provost?

Isaacson logo.jpgHeadhunter Isaacson, Miller — led by John Isaacson ‘68 — has issued the Provost’s position Invitation to Apply. The document is well written, in contrast to the Trustees’ recent Presidential Leadership Statements, and it tells us a few things about the adminsistration going forward:

— The Kim administration’s changes to the College’s traditional hierarchy will continue. Until just a few years ago, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences reported directly to the President — as befits a school that places a special emphasis on its undergraduate program. However, when Carol Folt assumed the Provost position under Kim, she elevated herself over the Dean in a manner typical of major research universities.

— Throughout the Invitation, Dartmouth is carefully described as balancing its commitments to teaching and scholarship:

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Out of kindness, we’ll avoid extended comment on the awkward phrases “liberal engineering education” and “technology thought leader” from the third paragraph above; they are stylistic exceptions in this solid document.

— The Provost’s core job definition is replete with calls for change and improvement: it notes that the Provost is responsible for “new initiatives”; “improvements and innovations in teaching and research”; and “innovative, collaborative and intelligent leadership.” Let’s hope that these words are more than platitudes; the College has seen little progress as regards pedagogy or residential life for almost a decade and a half.

— There seems to be a signal in the document that graduate programs in the Arts and Sciences are going to have to pass a tougher barrier to entry in the future, though one has to wonder how often the people in new “postdoctoral research positions” will end up teaching.

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The person that Phil Hanlon’s chooses as his Provost will have a material impact on the success of his administration. Let’s hope that he picks a forceful leader who is determined to improve the College. We’ve have enough of highly paid seat-warmers.

Addendum: The Search Committee is led by the Chair of the Native American Studies Program Bruce Duthu, and includes Government Department Chair John Carey, Engineering Professor Tillman Gerngross, Tuck Professor Robert Hansen, Geisel Professor Yolanda Sanchez, English Professor Barbara Will, Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Peter Winkler, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris, Nia Foney ‘15 and John O’Toole Tu’14.

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